Tag Archives: Stroke

Weekend!

Spend the day at home again today as Morgan is still not well, suffering from the throat and temperature that is going around. 

The day was relatively quiet otherwise, after the trauma of the visit from the nurse yesterday. She meant well, but going through the detail of everything that had happened and was still to happen was just too much for Liz at the end of the day. Just coming to terms with everything at the moment seems to be taking it’s toll – that along with the recovery, is most days proving to be too much.

 I took the three remaining children to school this morning; they had what is referred to as a ‘fluffy Friday’ where they do activities for the day which are not from the ordinary school curriculum, such as baking biscuits, building and dancing. Joshua spent most of the day at the Spectrum (the local activity park) in the swimming pool, and Luke did dancing with his friends. Both Luke and Savannah did several laps of heir school field (17 and 15 respectively) as they carried out their ‘Mile’ for the benefit of the Sport Relief charity day.

Kate very kindly brought them home again so I could carry on working, and it was a lovely day so they played outside for a bit before dinner.

Liz has been resting with Morgan for most of the day, and has eaten well today, so at least she has her appetite back. Morgan was ok during the middle of the day, but had a relapse last thing and was feeling very sorry for himself by the end of the day.

Still, thank goodness it is the weekend.

Adding Meaning to the Words

I was back to work again today, but at least the trains were playing ball this morning.

Savannah’s friend’s Mum, Kate, very kindly picked them up and took them to school, so Liz was able to rest after the initial mayhem of the morning! She also brought them home in the afternoon.

Work was busy today, as Wednesday’s tend to be, but doubly so at the moment with everything that is going on both at work and at home.

We haven’t heard anything else from the hospital or doctors, surgeons or consultants today, but I have spent most of the day explaining to work colleagues what they have deduced from all the tests they have been carrying out on Liz. Most of them have been astonished at the findings. All of them have been supportive beyond words. Something that has been true of all our friends.

Otherwise it was actually a fairly normal day, believe it or not.

Liz also found this on the web, which explains everything that has happened, and is going to happen, very well.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9yX2oLxuyM

First Day Fatigue

First day back at home and nothing much to report as it’s been a day of rest.

Liz was bright-eyed and bushy tailed when she got up this morning but unfortunately Luke was still not well, so stayed off school again today, although Liz said she felt well enough to sit and read with him while I took the other members of the tribe to their respective places of learning.

Pret Croissant

So, we were super-quick up Pewley Hill to drop off Savannah and say goodbye to Joshua and Morgan, who walk the last ½ mile by themselves. So quick, in fact that I was standing at the doors (again) waiting for them to open.

After dropping her off, it was a speedy run back down the hill to get a couple of Pret A Manger croissants for breakfast and then home to add the coffee. Perfect.

They were still reading when I got back, but it wasn’t long before Luke had the next of his Star Wars marathon under way (he had watched two episodes while I was working yesterday) and Liz was upstairs resting, complaining of being fatigued already 🙁

I suspect the next few weeks are going to be much like this, understandably, as she regains her strength.

Luke wilted shortly after that and they were still resting at lunchtime, so I managed to pop out for a quick run around the local trails, before returning home and whipping up some soup and toast for lunch – the perfect recovery food. Ironically, I am now able to run again, and Liz will be nervous, if not incapable, of doing anything strenuous for a few weeks at least, which is a change from the last month or so while I’ve been taking it easy and Liz has been ramping up her Virgin London Marathon training.

What a treat, this evening though, to have had a supper provided by our next door neighbour, Cecilia; a wonderful fish pie, which we all enjoyed immensely, so a big thank you to her. This and the offers of help we have had have been overwhelming – people really are so kind, it is amazing.

We have the weekend ahead to plan next week’s logistics of children movements. Wish us luck!

 

Home at Last

Sorry about no post yesterday, but things were a bit hectic trying to hold down two jobs, four children and a worldwide communications network 😉 and something had to give!

The results of the cardiogram came back early yesterday and it turns out my wife does have a very small hole in the heart (PFO – see previous post) but the doctors were not of the opinion that this would have been large enough to allow a clot through to the brain (passing, in layman’s terms from the veins coming into the heart to the arteries going out of the heart, bypassing the journey through the lungs). They are still considering what, if anything, to do about it though.

In addition, she has been having a lot of other tests, over the last couple of days to further investigate the cause of the stroke, most of which were based around blood letting of one form or another. These tests have been to clarify a number of things, including her cholesterol levels and the clotting efficiency of her platelets (for which I am sure there is a far more scientific name).

Back Home Again

Still, having been prodded, poked and pricked until her arms look like those of a lifetime class-A drug abuser (the platelet test in particular has to be done without the ‘pressure’ of a tourniquet :-() she had pretty much had enough and had asked early this morning if she could be discharged, to which the hospital agreed, provided they completed their preliminary tests.

So after fetching the children from their various activities, doing a final shop of all the things I forgot last time I did a shop (make a mental note to improve memory retention) we were off to the hospital, hopefully for the last time for a while, where the children excitedly ran to meet their mother, who they had not seen all week. We had to wait a little while longer for the final batch of prescribed ‘drugs’ to arrive from the pharmacy, but they duly did and then we were off.

Although Liz was only 8 days in the hospital, to me it seems a lot longer as my perception of time is a bit like a red Ferrari passing a field of crimson tulips – you know something significant has happened, but it’s all a bit of a blur against the background.

She is home now though and although fatigued (understandable after the knock her body has taken) her physical recovery is progressing extremely well considering the short space of time since the event occurred.  She has tablets to thin her blood and reduce its ‘clotting’ capacity in the short term, and others to lower cholesterol (hers was not high, but for this type of event the doctor’s prefer to take it significantly below the national recommended ‘normal’ low-point). All of these are tactically preventative measures as the risk of a recurrence is predictably higher immediately following a stoke than it is in the subsequent months.

So for now she will be resting, and next week we will no doubt be calling on many of the generous offers of assistance with the children, to try to get our lives back to some semblance of normality.

No leeches were harmed during the writing of this post.

View from the Consultants

I went in to visit Liz at lunchtime today as she was having a chat with her consultant.

Yesterday, the news was that she was not going to have the bubble echo cardiogram, which we had been waiting for all weekend, as Dr Pasco believed the stroke had been caused by an arterial failure of some sort, rather than any issue in the heart. However after discussing with the specialist Neuro-Radiologist, they could see nothing on the MRA scans which indicated as such so they were at a loss again.

Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)

So, this morning, it seems without much drama, they came to do the enhanced contrast cardiogram; for this they had to re-insert the cannula that they had removed yesterday. Although only a temporary insertion, this one wasn’t put in in the best way and was uncomfortable for the rest of the day until it was removed.

The bubbles for the procedure are produced in a sort of ‘froth’ in brine which apparently disperses before it reaches the lungs, hence, despite my concerns, there is no worry of suffering from ‘the Bends’.

After the procedure she was informed there was no ‘hole in the heart’ or ‘Patent Foramen Ovale’ (PFO), which is one of the things they check for, as clots may have come via veins into the heart and then pass through the ‘hole’ to another chamber of the heart before passing up to the brain where the problems are caused.

The chat that we had with Dr Pasco was useful and she was very kind with her time. She explained that nothing Liz had done would have made any difference to what happened. She also confirmed again that there was a high probability that she would make a full recovery, but was unwilling to commit to how long that might be. She put the various scans on a screen for us, which clearly showed areas where the ‘shower’ of insults to her brain had occurred.

Unfortunately she also explained that the team that had done the cardiogram had had another look at the pictures and had spotted something they wanted the doctors to have a look at. Yet again, Liz was taken on an emotional roller-coaster first thinking everything was one way and then being given a different story to try to cope with. Not ideal.

By the end of the day she was exhausted again, but appears to be lasting a little longer each day, which hopefully is a positive sign that everything is moving in the right direction.

Her consultant said she would hope Liz would be able to leave by the end of the week, so good news indeed.

Update from the Ward

Liz has been seen by the stroke consultant, Dr Pasco, today and she was going to speak to the neuro radiologist, who is the specialist.

Brain Diagram

She is dubious about the fact that the cause of the stroke could be based around any issue with the heart, because of Liz’s fitness and, in her words, if she had had a congenital problem with her heart, she would not have been able to push out four babies! No, Dr Pasco still believes that a dissection, split or rupture of an artery at the back of the head is most likely the cause of the clot that triggered the stroke.  She feels that this may have been caused by a trauma up to a month before the first time she experienced these symptoms, which was a couple of weeks ago. Neither of us can remember anything that may relate to this though.

Basically she wants to rule this course of thinking out before proceeding with a heart scan.

She has had more visitors today, as well as the discussions with the consultant which has been good, but this has tired her out.

I will be going in tomorrow  lunchtime when the consultant will be around to explain her thoughts to Liz, Tim and myself, so hopefully we’ll have more information then.

I managed another quick run at lunchtime but Liz I think has resigned herself to the fact that she won’t be able to do the training in time to make the London Marathon towards the end of April, which is a shame as I know she’d been looking forward to that for some time.

I suspect that isn’t the only thing that will change over the next few weeks.

Horoscopes’R’us

Liz has had a few visitors today – in fact we all arrived pretty much at the same time – note to self, work on aspects of time management, coordination and communication (sounds like my last appraisal :-)) Nevertheless, many thanks to Tim, Jo and Nilo and Ros for making the effort to come in to see her, I know she appreciates it.

The Unwilling Patient

She had another relatively quiet day, as being the weekend the ‘expert’ staff are not available for non-emergency cases which seem to be  seen and scheduled for normal weekday working hours, so we are no further forwards in the investigation or diagnosis of the cause of the problem. She is unfortunately still flitting between bouts of high expectations for a full and quick recovery, and worried anxiousness over the unknown cause and the consequent potential for a recurrence of the problem.

It seems like she will be in the hospital until at least Wednesday, but hopefully she will be out then and if she has started to recover sufficiently life may start to return to some sort of semblance of normality. I’ll need to keep you posted on that one though!

Tim was kind enough to pop over an sit with the children after breakfast this morning, so that I could go out for a run, and it was absolutely fantastic to be out on the North Downs again, from Pewley to St Martha’s to Newlands and back. An easy run, but no foot problems which is good news.

Savannah's Picture

When I got back Tim described the children’s behaviour as ‘mostly good’ – which is about all I am expecting in their current state of distraction. Nevertheless, the subsequent hours after Tim left were fragmented and didn’t really flow very well for some reason, and everything I have done today seemed to take a significant amount of grey-matter to pull it together. At least Savannah had done a picture for her mummy, which she was obviously pleased with – 130 kisses on it, which is quite a lot of concentration for a 5 year old!

Now I’m not one to really believe in all that horoscope bunkum , but here’s mine for the day

Managing your time is complicated today. It’s hard to tell where your self-assuredness is coming from, but you don’t have the time or energy to pursue answers through endless analysis. It really doesn’t matter whether or not you even have a long-term plan; just set your goals high and do your best to reach them. Do something productive right now; it’s more useful than thinking about what you could do sometime in the future.

Imagine that. The position of the planets in the heavens when I was born has directly indicated that I should’ve made time to make those chocolate éclairs today after all 😉